omen are supposed to like flowers. Something about the fragile petals, the soft colors, the innocence of their beauty. Silent, weak, unprotected, unassuming. Their thorns have been removed. Sometimes they’ve been specially bred to have no thorns, no prickly leaves, no unpleasant odor. This makes everything a bit easier.
He brings her flowers. Of course he does. It’s what men are supposed to do, after all. They have no stamens and no pistils, these sexless flowers. They come wrapped in noisy cellophane with a bar code, taking them out of the timeless romance and into the local supermarket. Her girlfriends are all jealous of her good fortune. Flowers, chocolates. Nice restaurants where the cocktails are made of exotic fruits and strange liquors. What a catch he is. And he asks for so little in return. Wear this ring, and be mine. I promise to take care of you.
It’s a temptation. She isn’t particularly keen on bills, errands, money, what will happen to her after she falls down, or gets old, or both. The flowers mean that none of this is her concern. She is taken care of. Her time can be spent arranging roses in crystal vases. Making sure they’re comfortable. She can quit her job, if she likes. She can spend more time at home, in the garden, making sure all of the flowers are just so. He knows this makes her happy.
he leaves a patch of weeds in the back, letting them grow wild. It’s a perverse desire to have them choke out all the pretty pink impatiens, the geraniums, the gardenias. It’s not so large anyone would notice. She’s hidden it carefully, so the neighbors won’t know. And he would never see it, anyway. He doesn’t notice the garden, though he crosses through it every morning on his way to work, and every evening when he comes home to a hot dinner and a warm wife.
The space is temporary, given over to plants that inevitably shrivel up and die, leaving the scent of decay and translucent brown petals on the ground. It is an endless pit of wasted funds, new bulbs for new seasons, new bushes, new trees, every month a new addition when the old blossoms wither and die. Their time is transient – they aren’t really worth all the effort, but they are all the more gorgeous for being insubstantial. She throws them sullenly into a vase on the counter.
She never liked flowers. She was only in it for the chocolate.